What Mitt must do

Rick Santorum did what all respectable candidates do after a hard fought trench battle. Realizing that the credibility of his brand both near and longer term was at risk, he conceded the race.  In doing so, the only real candidate who could contend with Mitt Romney for the Republican Party’s nomination is gone. While Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul continue to remain outliers in the race, there is really no contention there and the challenge turns inexorably towards the real game: Winning the White House in November.  In the coming months, we will have a front row seat in one of the greatest marketing and communications campaigns in our lifetime.  The stakes for our country have never been higher.  The challenger Mitt Romney is clearly the underdog as he battles incumbent President Obama.  Any thought to the contrary defies wisdom and the online data. 

Mass Media outlets and news commentary shows have already moved on and begun designing their talking points and content packages to keep the fervor and intensity alive in this epic battle.  Always focused on driving audience and advertising revenues, the major networks will no doubt pivot on each candidate move and talking point, making it the focus of their programming and hyper focus examination.  They too are selling a product: The insight that only those in front of the cameras can provide to an interested and sometimes gullible electorate that hangs on each syllable uttered by a talking head.  You can already see that the Morning Joe type shows are getting primed for a six month sprint of analysis and opinion. MOST of which will not lend any support to the Republican view of the world or its nominee.

If the Republican leadership is really serious about winning back the House, Senate and White House, there really is a way to get this done. It will take the strongest level of coordination , cooperation and consistency of message amongst all “factions” within the party to achieve this goal. As we look at this week’s tally, especially in light of the Santorum departure, it’s clear that the time is now for both Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich to exit gracefully and put personal aspirations behind them  for the achievement of a “Better America” this fall. It’s clear that While Mitt Romney is growing in terms of Facebook friends and Twitter followers, President Obama continues to ramp up in both major social media venues and establish an incredibly solid base with which to wage battle along the way to Election Day. Without a concerted effort across the full spectrum of the Republican base online, no candidate could effectively win any seat based on these facts and figures.

Facebook Friends

Mitt Romney – 1,580,684 – UP 16,380
Ron Paul – 932,447 – UP 4972
Newt Gingrich – 295,842 – DOWN 723
Rick Santorum – 189,510 – UP 663
President Barack Obama – 25,931,291 – UP 31,723

Noteworthy within Facebook is Mitt Romney’s steady weekly rise in fan numbers, Newt continues to lose friends, Santorum is only slightly positive and Ron Paul remains consistent. While President Obama is way out ahead in the millions, his rate of weekly growth on Facebook has slowed dramatically over the last couple of weeks.  Can Mitt Romney catch him on Facebook? Not Likely.  More ideas on a strategy that can close the gap later.

Twitter Followers

Newt Gingrich – 1,466,540 – DOWN – 372
Ron Paul – 427,757 – UP 6387
Mitt Romney –  426,365  UP 15,172
Rick Santorum – 205,622 – UP 2956
President Barack Obama – 14,055,235 – UP 274,971

Most troubling for the Republican Party is the fact that President Obama is picking up steam and followers on Twitter, an indication that the plethora of tweets coming from the President’s team are resonating with the base. While Mitt continues to grow his follower numbers, the president is creating a significant distance between them.  In recent days, we have learned of a “weakness” in the marketing war chest within the Obama re-election campaign.  It’s clear that there was an understanding within the operatives running the campaign to win the war in the online trenches, hence the real focus in terms of personnel and dollars online. Only the naïve observer would think that the president himself is hunkered down in front of a computer composing tweets and Facebook entries.  No. This is a battle between two marketing teams and machines. It’s fascinating stuff for all of us who have lived and worked within the marketing business.  Right now, however, Team Obama is winning the battle.

Having spent a great deal of my career working with brands in the heat of market share battles, my approach to the battle ahead for the Republicans and Mitt Romney is fairly straightforward.  The battle is being waged by two competitors who have distinct and different views of how our country should be governed in the years ahead. Let’s be very clear that both the president and Mitt Romney “Believe in America.”

Nothing can be gained through rhetorical jousting concerning who “loves America more.” That is a losing battle. In order for the Romney camp to win the battle online, here are a few ideas:
 
•    Build consistency throughout the Republican network – There is strength in numbers. It’s time that the GOP created an online network that leverages the power base of huge numbers of Republican personalities and elected officials online.  We need to create Romney’s Online Army. Let’s  recruit Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, John McCain, Ron Paul (you get the idea) to work together in supporting the nominee online thru a consistency of message to their Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Let’s create consistent billboard content blocks that can be placed on their websites, Facebook pages and utilized within their Twitter efforts.  It makes no sense for those who are united  within one party with a common mission to be fragmented in their tactical strategy. United Republicans stand a chance; divided they will most certainly fall.

•    Create a candidate Obama ’08 campaign promise scorecard – Here the team returns to the last election and documents all of the promises, claims, facts and figures  of the campaign. Nearly four years later Republicans document and score the president based on his level of achievement and failure against these promises. It is critical that this scorecard be displayed on Republican websites, Facebook pages, Twitter posts, Pinterest, Linkedin, etc.

•    Intense focus on battleground states – While this may appear pretty straightforward, the campaign needs to do an online inventory audit within battleground states to determine key intersection points between online visitors and  messaging platforms. It’s time to buy up every available advertising unit within local search queries and high frequency content sites whether they be sports teams, local entertainment, news, opinion, etc. Any open inventory at an intersection between a likely voter and content should be billboarded with the Romney platform message and a directional link to the online home base of the candidate. This home base should have a detailed messaging platform relevant to the voters in the given battleground state. This is not a time to be vague about the case for why a Mitt Romney presidency would serve the specific needs of the voters within a battleground state.

We are only getting started and there are a number of other tactical components to chart a winning strategy for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. In the coming days we will continue to discuss these components.  What has been outlined here is the start of a plan, what is required is immediate attention and implementation. There is no time for Romney and Republicans to waste. You can be sure that the folks in the Chicago bunker aren’t sleeping much these days.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MMFSZ5JMH6A5YPH24T2XA4BBSE corrina

    First of all you have no cause. You are not Tea Party–conservative. If so you would not be for Mitt Romney and vile. 
    Secondly Mitt Romney double-talks so his website means nothing but his past as the Republican liberal of MA speaks volumes. 

    Like liberals from the Northeast and Midwest moved to the sunbelt and changing the political landscape to liberal so have they become Republicans. 
    As if we didn’t have too many Republican liberals already–more liberal turds become Republicans.

  • rdman_VietVet

    As Governor, 800 vetoes of uber-liberal Massachusetts legislature spend, spend, spend bills… for starters.

    Want more Romney stands defending his positions… they’re all out there for people like me that got beyond the leftist meme, media and fringe propaganda and my own doubts and skepticism… try it. Its very liberating!!

  • Jeanne Fiorito

     not very patriotic….

  • Jeanne Fiorito

     its not about twitter and facebook. Its about the people. Mitt is as stiff as a board. Try as he might, he doesn’t connect with people. I think he’s an honorable man to some extent, but not a true conservative. He doesn’t have the credentials and hasn’t walked the walk. Wait and see when he gets the nomination how centrist he will get.

  • rdman_VietVet

    Dittos!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This incessant Romney bashing based on laziness or blocked by ego to do the research and accept the facts or just plain ignorance is really getting somewhere beyond delusion… maybe akin to self-defeatist envy of an accomplished and competent man. When did success become a bad thing in this country??

  • Jeanne Fiorito

     now that is not going to happen. Republicans in the mainstream will never back Newt

  • Jeanne Fiorito

    I say see what he stood for when he was Gov of MA and when he ran again Teddy. He became a liberal!

  • Jeanne Fiorito

     yes, well stated

  • Jeanne Fiorito

     You got that right!!!

  • Jeanne Fiorito

    its not about making money. Kudos to him for making as much as he can. He has flip flopped on so many issues. Practically a liberal when he was Gov of MA and ran for the senate against Teddy. At one point, pro-choice. Romney-care. Doesn’t cut the mustard as a true conservative. Sorry IMHO. (never mind Romneycare)

  • mnolan13

    If Mitt wants to win, he has to find him a Southern Baptist minister and become born-again.  This will ease the minds of the evangelicals who at this minute have no intention of EVER voting for a Mormon.  As a born-again Christian he will also be absolved for every economically liberal sin he has or will ever make.  He can run against Obama as a Communist and win with the Bible belt.

    As things stand, the smart money is on Obama.

  • rdman_VietVet

     Sorry, but you are absolutely hopeless… what do you expect to accomplish with your commentary at this point in time… unless you are an Obama useful tool troll, which is also hopeless. BO is done, finished!!

  • http://poorwilber.blogspot.com Poor Wilber

    What Mitt must do?

    First, explain in depth his position reversals and  epiphanies over the years.    The answers keep changing.
    I want to know why he said in 2002 that he was a “moderate progressive”, but in 2011 is a “severe conservative”.   I’m serious, I haven’t heard Mr. Romney explain that entire journey.

    Would he sign a assault weapons ban if RINOs and Democrats sent him the bill?

    Will he reinstate DADT?

    Will he get rid of the Dept of Education?   If not, what Departments would he downsize or cut?   

  • http://poorwilber.blogspot.com Poor Wilber

    Oh well,  why didn’t you say so……if its  on a RomneyPAC website, then it must be true.    How foolish of us.    Romney called himself a moderate progressive in 2002, and you’re  calling people who actually supported Reagan  “a so-called” conservative?   Now, who’s delusional?

  • ff2009

    I will never vote for romney.  PERIOD.

  • Sweetrae aka: LeAnn

    You probably wouldn’t have voted for ANY republican anyway.

  • Smedlow

    I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before, but if I were a loyal Obamite and wanted to affect the outcome of the election, I might infiltrate the domains of the enemy and create disharmony and disunity within their ranks by making denigrating remarks about the opposing candidate.  I would expect that others would never become Obamites, but I might just get them to not vote. 

    Some of the things I might talk about are how Liberal the candidate is, or his Hated Religion, or what a Loser he is.  It wouldn’t matter if I were even accurate, as long as my emotional appeal could begin to sway other sheep.  Discord is a valuable tool. 

    Of course you would take issue with the suggestion that YOU might be such a troll, but my gut test is this:  When I hear Obama say anything deceitful (when his lips are moving), I get an uncontrollable nausea and want to puke.  When I read anything you have written, I get the same feeling.  You fail the gut-test. And when it comes to religion, you fail the Bigot test.

    You wouldn’t like Ann Coulter because her arguments are based on research and logic (with a bit of sarcasm thrown in), but her last several columns have been a reasonable representation of what Romney really is.  I lived in MA when he was Governor.  It is the job of a public servant to accomplish what the public wants accomplished.  He did that in MA by increasing revenues, decreasing budgets and creating a surplus, and giving the most liberal state in the nation what they asked for: a medical plan at the state level, which is where it belongs. It is amazing that he is roasted daily for governing conservatively in a hotbed of liberalism and accomplishing many things that the next Governor, a liberal, managed to destroy in a matter of months.

  • http://twitter.com/thepartyofno Party of No

    My gosh, you are right.  I am actually helping the other side.  Forget what I’ve been saying.  Erase it like you would an etch-a-sketch.

    Let’s all join hands now and jump over the cliff and vote for our nominee, Mitt.  Thank you Smedlow for making me see the light.

    So let us all UNITE around the SEVERE CONSERVATIVE!

  • Smedlow

    Of course you are exhibiting a little sarcasm of your own, but I would propose, assuming that Romney is the presumptive nominee, what else are you planning to do?  Overthrow the electoral process?  Of course you should vote for him, whether you love him or not.  The alternative is still Obama.  Unless, of course, you are a troll.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OHBKTCSIRF6UL4KLQDAWQINPSE Thomas

    I think conservatives make a big mistake when we allow what we believe to be reduced to the word “conservative”. What we do is look at morality as well as reality and by reality I mean facts, either historical facts, statistical facts, scientific facts or just the obvious facts and from the best information available or by seeing the obvious we come to conclusions on how things are best done.

    Sure that used to be more common and we want to “conserve” that but we need a better name than conservative which has been ruined by the CICO’s (conservatives in claim only). No we need to call our selves something like the “realists” so we can point out how liberal positions differ from reality.

    Anyway you were saying Romney needs to say or do something so we conservatives can know we can trust him, right? He needs to come out and pledge that he will not raise taxes; “Read my lips” It’s worked before.

    Newt 2012 (in other words a brokered convention)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OHBKTCSIRF6UL4KLQDAWQINPSE Thomas

    There are more people who WANT to vote for Obama than want to vote for Romney; Romney isn’t popular.

    The question is is Obama less popular;

    Actually the question is can we still get to a brokered convention by voting for Newt?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OHBKTCSIRF6UL4KLQDAWQINPSE Thomas

    Or, maybe we don’t like Obama because of his policies and maybe we look at Mitt and see he has had many of the same policies and maybe that is why we don’t like either liberal.

    Maybe we thought the TEA Party win in 2010 were a new Reagan or Newt Revolution and see the Romney rise as the face of the elites triumphing over us TEA Party Hobbits again for awhile. 

    I’m pretty sue Mitt will lose, so why not make a try at a brokered convention? Especially when like I said he is for most all the same policies as Obama?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OHBKTCSIRF6UL4KLQDAWQINPSE Thomas

    Are you trying to pretend he didn’t pass a same sex marriage law? Are you trying to pretend he didn’t grab control of healthcare and give the state control of it? Are you trying to pretend that he didn’t come out for Cap N Trade and the bail-outs?

    Oh yes we are just lazy or we are liars, or we are jealous; couldn’t possibly be we are conservatives who are still trying for a brokered convention?

    Besides Mitt has no chance of winning unless people figure Obama is going to win and push the panic button so you should be happy, because the only way a liberal loser like Mitt has a chance, and that is all you care about, is if the economy tanks, and that will happen if it looks like Obama is going to get another term.

    So as a guy who knows how to root, but not much else I don’t expect you to get it, but I see no danger in holding out for a brokered convention by supporting Newt right now.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OHBKTCSIRF6UL4KLQDAWQINPSE Thomas

    The social issues are winners for the GOP because people who would not normally vote for tax cuts for people who make more than $250,000 will vote against abortion and same sex marriage;

    Of course this is why Mitt is such a bad candidate with his pro-abortion history and his same sex marriage bill. But let’s not sell him short he is also good at making gaffs and bad at connecting with normal people.

    Newt 2012 go for broke(rd convention)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OHBKTCSIRF6UL4KLQDAWQINPSE Thomas

    Romney is an idiot who didn’t understand how Newts plan could lower gas prices, just the fact that Reagan had an energy plan lowered gas prices in the 80′s and yet Mitt didn’t get that.

    As to very smart I am not sure where you get that from, if you mean he is smarter than you then yes I can see that, I have read your posts and they are heavy on emotion and light on substance, but as far as the things he has said, positions he has taken,

    He is just another elite; they think they are smart, and they know what they know and they admire each other, but they resist new information if it comes from outside their circle so they make the most obvious mistakes and they do the most functionally stupid things; things the average conservative saw from a mile away.

  • HOO

    In my opinion the strategy should be to describe Obama’s insanity: his paranoid view of America and its people, his outrageous distortions, lies, his meanness, his grandiosity, his delusions about Americans, his heartlessness, his self serving and ridiculous speech and word choices, his appalling stupidity, his cruelty to the unborn and survivors of attempted abortion. This man is a monster. If you can’t figure out how to fight a evil of this magnitude just stay home.